The Curse of the Timbrel

I have discovered something truly terrifying… My timbrel hands have crossed over to Zumba… don’t know what I am talking about? Well hold on your hats…

This is a timbrel:

Well a timbrel with a CD in it… you may recognise these from the Salvation Army… or the time those two old ladies played the timbrel on Britain’s got talent and argued with Simon about the difference between timbrels and tambourines… which if you happened to watch that, you will now know that timbrels have two rows of small cymbals and Tambourines have one… but I digress (but if you would like to continue this tangent here is the link…).

The timbrel is used kind of like rhythmic gymnastics… it’s a little weird and sometimes uncomfortable to watch, but if you do it right it can look very impressive.  As a younger girl in the Salvation Army I was in the timbrel brigade… that is the timbrel performance group, where we played rhythms on the timbrel with timed choreography to mostly brass band music, but occasionally something that was a little more out there… like worship music.

Now, even though I haven’t really given it much credit so far… I loved playing the timbrel, and I still do, although now I only really play at Christmas time to the Mariah Carey version of Joy to the world… again I digress… When learning to play the timbrel one of the most important things… as any timbrel leader (or sergeant, depends how army you want to be) will tell you (myself included) is that when playing the timbrel your must tuck the thumbs of your non-timbrel hand in otherwise it looks sloppy.  I will admit I learnt this the hard way, by having my uncontrollable thumbs bandaid’ed in place by my leader (who was also my aunty).  But since then as soon as I pick up a timbrel my left thumb automatically tucks.

I thought that this automatic tucking was specific to the timbrel but this is where I made my terrifying discovery.  At Zumba we did a dance… routine… fitness extravaganza… strange semi-co-ordinated movements, which required us to put our hands in the air and then back down… if I was a stick figure… I would look something like this:

It was during this that I made my terrifying discovery, unlike everyone else who just puts their open hand in the air… mine tucked…

And I looked like an idiot… the worst bit is I can’t do it the other way… with just an open hand it feels wrong… and it wasn’t just my non-timbrel hand that tucked… but both… yes both…

I am not really sure what I am going to do about this, but it appears for the time being I am stuck with timbrel hands… even at Zumba… no bandaids required anymore.

P.S  I just discovered that if you feel like you have missed the boat and you too really want timbrel hands… well you are in luck, there are some instructional videos… so you can learn in the comfort of your own home…just click here… seriously check them out… you know you want to.

Thinking my Destiny

Words are really powerful, they have the ability to build up and to tear down so quickly sometimes its hard to stop and over the last year or so I have been reminded of just how powerful and devastating they can be, while I was working at another site, there was a lady in reception that had the following quote above her computer:

Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

It’s a pretty good reminder, something that I don’t think about anywhere near enough. It all starts with a little thought and if you’re not careful it can get out of control. Words don’t just happen, they come from thoughts, despite how bad you think the filter is… In fact if the filter is bad, words are probably an even better representation of your thoughts because they aren’t filtered… they just come out the way they were found in the brain, which for someone with a bad filter like me is a scary thought in itself.

This is something that I have been really challenged about recently, the impact of my thoughts on my life. My outlook, my reaction to things and the way that I deal with people. Often I am quite negative and sceptical on the inside, but on the outside I am peachy pie, until you ask the right questions. But even though I can push it to the back it still taints everything I do, it sets me up to have a bad attitude right from the beginning. It sets me up to be disappointed because that’s what I am expecting. The book that I am reading at the moment, ‘Soul Detox’ by Craig Groeschel, talks a lot about getting your mind right, stopping negative, bitter, jealous thoughts dead in their tracks and replacing them with things that are of God, which is straight from the bible…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

I think I need to start making a conscious effort to control my thoughts, to protect my mind and to stop things that aren’t true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable from dwelling, before they become my words or my actions. Stopping them one thought at a time, before I let them turn into words that hurt others the way that the words of others have hurt me.

Make me uncomfortable

Sunday night at church we were asked the question what does Easter mean to you… for someone that calls themselves a Christian you would think that this was an easy enough question, but it’s actually been playing on my mind all week… what does Easter really mean to me? And I think unfortunately Easter for me has become a tradition rather than a revelation.

Easter is the best part of my whole life story, the part that means I am not eternally stuffed, but instead I have eternal life because of Jesus’ sacrifice, yet more often then not I forget about the true meaning of Easter and get more excited about the chocolate and depending when Easter falls, my birthday. I take the story and the event completely for granted.

It makes me quite sad that this is the case, but I think that I am not alone, and I think that the reality is because I live in a good country, where I want for very little and life is pretty good, I have become comfortable, comfortable with what I have, what I can do, and where my life is heading, my faith in God is a choice yes, but one that I find I can separate from my life if I want to, which is terrible.

The reality of the Easter story is uncomfortable, it says that I caused this, my sin killed him, but he did it because he still loves me. The Easter story also highlights my laziness in telling others about God, because if I let the Easter story in all it’s fullness invade my life, the reality of life and death, heaven and hell is more real then ever before and it hurts, so its easier just to take the chocolate and run.

The other question that has been going around and around is why isn’t Easter as big as Christmas? And in all honesty I think all of the above is part of the reason, the Christmas story is lovely, wholesome and heart-warming (on the outside at least, if you don’t think too closely about the reality of giving birth in a stable, or travelling pregnant on a donkey). But it is all wrapped up nicely with a beautiful baby, some kings, presents and a super duper star and then this is linked to a jolly fat man who brings us lots and lots of gifts. Easter doesn’t have that, sure there is a fluffy bunny, some baby birds and a ton of chocolate but it is tied together with a man, an innocent man dying brutally on a cross because we stuffed it… it’s not really your feel good story of the year, on the surface anyway.

The reality is though, it’s the most beautiful love story ever told, a man lays down his life so that I can live, so that you can live… so that we don’t have to pay the price for what we have done. But it’s a story that forces us out of the comfortable spot that we live in… it challenges us, but instead it should give us hope…

Anyway, I guess what I really wanted to get at is this Easter I am praying that God will make me uncomfortably with my apathy towards the story, with my reluctance to share and that I will be moved once again by the amazing sacrifice and gift that I have been given and that I will share it.

I want to look past the traditions, the hot cross buns and the eggs, but into my daily walk with and what the eternal consequences of it actually are… I hope you want this for your Easter too.

Fixing my attitdue

So I have something exciting to share with you… it turns out my husband is a lot wiser than I thought. Seriously no sarcasm intended… he is really wise. He has been writing this blog called ‘just a thought’ for a while now and each time he posts something I learn something… I think he is on to a winner… so if you are looking for some interesting thoughts… check his blog out… seriously do it… you won’t regret it.

Another wise man has been sharing some rather wise words in the form of a podcast I have been listening to this week. I have been listening to Steven Furtick speak at Life Church about the favour of God and what it means to walk in the favour of God. I have found it quite challenging, which was quite unexpected, because normally when I think of the Favour of God I think of it raining down blessings of all kinds. In fact, to be honest, I normally get a little sceptical when people start talking about the favour of God, because it makes me think of prosperity gospels and doing things so God gives you stuff, but usually it’s a feel good message so I gave it a crack. But that’s not what it is about at all… seriously the favour of God could not be further from that. Sure while you are walking in the favour of God you might get some good stuff, your blessings may increase but that’s not the point… the favour of God doesn’t mean favors from God… in fact Steven defined favour as:

The guarantee of His presence and the provision of His power to accomplish His special purpose, in and through my life.

Pretty cool ey? I really like it… The other thing that hit me was the attitude it should come with, Steven talked about the fact that lots of people walk around doing life and when bad stuff happens they say things like ‘that would only happen to me” or “that’s the story of my life” but if that’s the way we are thinking then we need to get a new writer/director… because our current is terrible! Instead we should be waking up in the morning saying “I wonder what blessings God is going to give me today” or “I wonder how I will see God working today”, we should have a grateful attitude as gratitude is the gateway to favour.

This really made me think, I have been guilty of having a ‘woe is me and my life’ frame of mind for probably a couple of years now, granted I have encountered some pretty life altering events and some of them haven’t been that awesome… in fact some of them have been less than average. But through this I have come to expect that I will always get the rough deal, that me, and my family are destined to have second best, to always be facing something bad and that when things are looking good for once, not to get too excited because it probably means that the next disaster is about to strike. This is a terrible way to live… and it doesn’t really scream hope, faith, love, grace and favour… in fact it pretty much says doubt. I know I have blogged about changing my attitude before and it probably seems like I just round in circles, which is probably true in many ways, but I think each time I go round I get a bit better at taking steps in the right direction. I need to start living like God likes me, like really does have something special for me to do, which he does, like he loves me and wants the best for me, which he does, like all things will work for good, for those who love the lord and are called according to his purpose, which I am and he will. I need to get thankful, like really thankful, not just for the big things, but for the little things too, in fact for everything (because he is worthy). I need to expect wonderful, powerful, amazing stuff all the time, I need to trust that even if I can’t see, I’m in his favour so I am safe, secure and heading in the right direction, and I need to do this consistently… I need to life the bar of expectation for my life… and when/if… no, when the bad stuff comes, be thankful for the people, the prayer, the power that I have been given to lift me out…

So one of the things I am going to do to help me be more consistent is get more thankful, like really thankful because I am and I should be! So one day each week I am going to stop and take a moment to post about the things I thankful for, it might just be a wordless Wednesday, or it might be a day of its own, perhaps marvelous Monday… Or something along those lines, either way, when ever it is it will be full of thanks, not just for big things but for all the small things too… I am going to share the favour that have received… And slowly but surely my attitude will change… I hope… but just to get me started, I super thankful for God’s beautiful earth… how’s this for favour…


The Month of Love

So I saw this on a friend’s facebook the other day and thought I might use it to shape my blog for the next month, coz lets face it who doesn’t like a little bit of love…  So each day for the next month, I am going to post about the corresponding day from the picture below.  I may post other things in between, but I will at least post something love related.

I do want a little disclaimer though…I know that this list has come from… no I am not pregnant, and some of them will not apply, or are just a little lame, no really lame so I am going to tell you now that I may change them as I go, but either way, it will be something about love.

Top 5 Christmas Moments

Whew, the last couple of days have been full on… fun, but full on and because they were awesome, but most of you couldn’t share them with me… I thought I would give you my pictorial Top 5 moments of Christmas 2011… in no particular order:

1. Carols

2. Christmas Dinners20120101-112452.jpg

3. Silly Christmas costumes20120101-112510.jpg

4. Christmas lights20120101-112636.jpg

5. Loved ones20120101-112535.jpg